Russian court extends custody of US journalist in ‘foreign agent’ case


KAZAN, Russia (Reuters): Russian-American journalist Alsu Kurmasheva had her detention extended by 72 hours on Friday in a case where she is accused of violating Russia’s law on foreign agents.

Kurmasheva is a Prague-based journalist for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), which is funded by the U.S. Congress and designated by Russia as a foreign agent, meaning it gets foreign funding for activity deemed to be political.

Video from inside the court showed Kurmasheva sitting in a glass box with her arms folded, wearing a large white COVID-style mask over her face and a black coat with the hood covering her head.

She is the second U.S. journalist to be arrested and charged in Russia since the start of its war in Ukraine.

After Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was arrested in March on spying charges, which he denies, almost all other U.S. journalists left Russia. Washington has repeatedly urged other Americans to leave.

“This appears to be another case of the Russian government harassing U.S. citizens,” State Department spokesperson Matt Miller told reporters on Thursday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Moscow was not waging any campaign to harass Americans and the U.S. comment was inappropriate.

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